Why The Bernie Memes Give Me Hope

SG Buckley
2 min readJan 22, 2021
Stephanie Gruner Buckley, thanks to Nick Sawhney

We’ve been through an awful time with people seriously on edge. Worried about the pandemic, our jobs, the intrusion of tech, political chaos, non-stop bad news, a growing divide between rich and poor; red and blue. The meme is a collective sigh of relief.

Here’s what else these glorious memes tell us:

Tech Can Be Our Friend

We (see: me) tend to bash tech because while it makes life easier; it’s also becoming our life. Still, it’s worth marveling for a moment at the explosion of sophisticated, easy-to-use, art and photo apps. There’s already a brilliant (and highly addictive site) where you can enter an address and up pops Bernie. Genius! (See one of my many creations above. The site is so popular it has been down during the day).

Political Hero Worship Is Getting Old

One of the most bizarre things in recent years has been the way people idolize Trump, and to a lesser extent, leaders on the left like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie himself. Hero worship is unhealthy in a Democracy. People become protective of their heroes — particularly as they come under attack. Admitting serious flaws in a person we worship is like admitting we’re seriously flawed ourselves. Seeing these hilarious memes reminds us that politicians aren’t heroes and shouldn’t be idolized. They’re flawed like everyone. All politicians should be fair game for satire and that’s a good thing.

We Don’t Need To Be Nasty

It’s been an angry decade. So much so that people can’t even think straight. Even the comedians are furious with incredibly funny people like Bill Maher and John Oliver sounding more like scolds. Americans are crying out for more joyful humor. Seeing these memes reminds us that good humor can be uplifting.

Americans Are Resilient

Call me a foolish optimist, but I think we’ll be ok. The memes show how Americans can rally around something as harmless and as wholesome as the image of a US Senator bundled up at an inauguration wearing hand-knit mittens. How wonderful is this: since the first memes appeared, second-grade teacher and knitting enthusiast Jen Ellis has received more than 6,000 orders. Now that’s America.

What I want to know now, Senator Sanders: What is your favorite meme?

SG Buckley

Writer, editor, parent. Former staffer at Quartz, WSJ and Inc. magazine.